Looking after yourself

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Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.

Despite having written many posts for Poly Means Many, and many more that are introspective, the topic for this month has lead me to revisit some uncomfortable conversations and realisations that I’ve had over the past few years. Truth be told it’s been good and is probably something I should do a little more often.

When you first start out on the poly journey all the articles and books suggest that you take some time to check in with yourself, to assess what you want and above all to be honest with yourself.

It’s a lot harder than it sounds but it is the bedrock on which a lot of the other structures that a poly relationship needs is built.

Honesty, like understanding, begins at home, with yourself. In order to be honest with another person, you must first be honest with yourself, and part of that means recognizing and acknowledging the reality of who you are and the reality of your situation.
From More Than Two

For me I had to revisit the root causes of my depression and my tendency to presume unspoken expectations; it meant I had to be honest with myself that I like to be the person that helps, the person who ‘fixes’ things; it meant I had to realise that I need to keep time for me, rather than overcommitting to ‘make other people happy’.

There is a wealth of conversations, realisations, dark moments and tears behind a lot of that, and some of it still bubbles up from time to time and catches me off guard. The difference now is that both my partners are aware of this and I know that I can (and should) talk to them about how I’m feeling.

It wasn’t always the way but, as I’ve been told many times, I need to look after myself so I can look after the ones I love. So whether I’m just alright, doing ok, or feeling good, I am honest about my mood and what I think might be causing it. It’s only fair to my partners, and it’s important for me to acknowledge as well.

Being poly isn’t easy, you need to account for the emotions, energy levels, schedule and desires of others, it’s a constant balancing act which is made all the easier by being honest. Only then are you being true to yourself and only then can you avoid the negatives that can creep in, the build up of small pockets of stress that can lead to blowouts and confrontations.

For me the key to looking after myself is to be honest and to realise that I am allowed to call out for help, or to reschedule a night, or change plans, as long as it’s being done for the right reasons.